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My wife, Amy has polycystic ovaries, it’s not on the extreme side and we were never told we couldn’t conceive naturally, but it just didn’t happen for us. I had 2 semen analysis’s done and they came back fine, so we knew it stemmed from her, but we tried for seven years before we ended up going to CREATE for IVF. Obviously, we had to start that journey somewhere; we consulted with our GP after two years of trying. They put Amy on things like clomid which we tried that for six months, but that didn’t work so we tried for another six months. It just became very systematic in what we were trying to achieve, but we were not being told anything is wrong it’s just going to be a little more complex and a bit more difficult.

One of the challenges of Amy’s PCOS, was there was no fertile window so we didn’t know when there was an ovulation opportunity, it was literally the smallest opportunity every month.

The amount of times we would come out of the month just completely frustrated that it hadn’t happened, was what put us on the path to considering IVF. We knew it was an option we wanted to explore and we were perfectly happy and comfortable with it but we did want to conceive naturally.However, in the end after our experience of going through and our understanding the process, I would highly recommend IVF to anyone.

CREATE for us was the first and only choice, when we knew we would be going down the route of IVF. We obviously looked at the NHS and they made it clear what needed to take place in order to qualify, which we did over a five year period with the additional two years of trying.

They gave us a list of centres we would be applicable to, and that is when Amy started researching each individual clinic. We started looking at convenience of proximity, because with CREATE if we couldn’t go to St. Pauls we could go to St. Albans which isn’t that far from us, so we were looking for a clinic that was going to be convenient for us.

It mainly came down to the fact that CREATE had very positive feedback and had the highest number of reviews that we had seen. It was just ideal.

Ultrasound Scan Picture
Baby Sienna

 

We had never done IVF before, so we didn’t know what to expect, so together we just took it each step at a time. We honestly loved everyone at CREATE, from reception staff through to the doctors and nurses.

There was never a time where we felt we didn’t have enough information or we didn’t know what was going on, it just felt very smooth. Everyone was amazing, we loved how personable everyone was, we would walk in and they would know us, and ask ‘how are you getting on?’ or talk about a previous experience they’ve had with us. With IVF, it’s not smooth start to finish and you do panic at nearly every step of the way, but we found we always had people on hand to help us.

Going through the IVF process can be difficult for the man because there isn’t really much we need to do. Amy had to go through god knows how many needles, self-injections and neither of us are particularly good with needles, but we needed to do it! She was amazing, she did everything. I was there as support and help her through the process. Amy was like, “I have to get this done” and once she got into the routine of it, it became second nature.

She was keeping logs and posting on Instagram, we documented absolutely everything to do with our journey start to finish. Amy gets loads of people coming to her asking ‘how did you get on’. She now knows people who have been successful and unsuccessful, so for her she want to be there to offer advice, to be able to say this was my experience and feel free to ask any questions you want. For us, if there is any chance to actively promote CREATE as our clinic, as a clinic we went to and we loved, we will.

During the journey, we were fully kept up to speed, of what was going on. At times, which we liked, they would be super honest with their feedback, not in a negative way but in a way that helped us to understand what’s happened and what the next steps are. Even just understanding the embryo types and quality of eggs. We had about 11 eggs from collection, of which 8 made it through the process. We got an email confirmation which broke down which embryo quality we had both exterior and interior and what that meant So, that gave us clarity that even if we didn’t fall pregnant in the first attempt, we at least had 3 more attempts with high quality embryos and giving us the best possible chance.

After egg retrieval took place, Amy’s hormone levels were too high to put an embryo back in, so we needed to wait a further cycle before we could go back to check her hormone levels. CREATE made it very clear to us, we can put an embryo back it, but there’s a far higher risk of it not working, and if you want the best chance we recommend you wait, so we took the advice and we waited.

We then had our embryo transfer and were told we needed to wait a week before we would know if it’s worked. They said you can come back to us in a week, we can do a blood test and we can tell you, or you can wait two weeks to do the home pregnancy test, but of course, we said we would be back in a week.

Then followed 9 months of worrying what could go wrong. We had a few little worries along the way. It was nerve-racking, but then once she arrived, you realise that that was the easy part! You now have to look after them and learn how to do all of that, plus we were in a global pandemic.

It’s been amazing seeing her grow. A part of me wants time to stop because I really like her as a baby, and she’s got her teeth coming through and starting to chatter in her own sort of language. If one positive has come out of the whole covid situation is that I’m thankful I’ve been here for everything and being able to see it.

Toddler Sienna
Sienna's First Birthday

The documentation of our journey hasn’t stopped, it didn’t end when the IVF ended. I have something like 17,500 videos and pictures in the last 18 months since Sienna arrived, she’s probably going to be the most documented person in history! From the day she was born I have sent her grandparents daily photos and videos, so they have been able to watch her grow too. But since lockdown has eased, they have been able to come round and see her. Sienna has been perfect, in the sense that she sleeps, she has a really good routine, she’s not problematic at all.

If I could give one piece of advice to anyone women and couples starting our going through IVF, it would be to stay positive, just think and feel and remain as stress free as possible. We’ve not had the negative impact of it not working, we tried once with IVF and it worked, and we’re super thankful for that. We know people who have tried multiple times and it still hasn’t worked and they are still going, and they are still trying to remain positive, and that is difficult because it is such a science.

One thing I’ll say that’s changed, is it’s all about Sienna now. It’s no longer just Amy and I, we can’t be selfish anymore and do what we want to do. The grandparents have been wanting us to go on date nights and leave her with them, but we don’t feel like we need to, we’re happy here.

 

Alex & Amy.